Mini Skirt Monday #60

The New Valley National Bank (Arizona)

This picture fits the topic nicely - a perfect combination of miniskirts and money. The economy and hemlines.... is there a correlation? This is the Eternal Question of the Ages.

Way, way back in the first Miniskirt Monday post I posed this question, and I thought maybe it was time to revive this old chestnut.  Scholars and Perverts alike have pondered this economic legend: do hemlines really rise when the economy improves, and sink back down when the economy falters?

During the Roaring Twenties the hemlines when way up, and came way, way down during the Great Depression. Things went up again by the Swingin' Sixties and came falling back down during shit economy of the Ford-Carter years. Then, during the boom of the Reagan years, hemlines once again found their way above the knee.  So, is it fact or fiction?

If you do a quick Google search, you'll find that the answer varies; no one seems to agree.  In my personal opinion (indeed, I consider myself an international expert on miniskirts), they do correlate.  But, here's the thing: consumer buying habits are sometimes incomprehensible.  For instance, when there is a threat of a hurricane or tornado, people buy significantly more Pop-Tarts.  You can attach any explanation to this you like, but the very real correlation remains.

In other words, I don't know why hemlines go up during economic upturns - we can speculate on the possible reasons all day.  But I think we can safely say there's at least a correlation between the two.

The New Valley National Bank (Arizona)


  1. Well, studies have been done. Carolyn Balkwell and Su-Hua Ho. "A Quantitative Analysis of Dress Dimensions: Comparison of Models for Taiwan and the United States from 1966 to 1986." Clothing and Textiles Research Journal Vol: 10 Issue: 4, June 1992. "This research compared variations in the six dress dimensions measured by Richardson and Kroeber (1940) occurring over a 21-year period in Taiwan and the United States. The sample was drawn from illustrations in fashion magazines. Mean annual dress measurements were graphed Cycles were apparent in both cultures for skirt length and possibly decolletage length. Cycles for skirt width were apparent in the United States only. Waist width, waist length, and decolletage width did not exhibit cyclical variation. Multiple regression tests were usedfor each dress dimension in each culture to compare a model based on gross national product, consumption expenditures, and stock market price index to one containing these variables plus median age of the population. The economic and demographic model tended to predict dress dimensions better than the economic model. Of the economic variables, gross national product and consumption expenditures were most consistently related to dress in both cultures."

    "Mabry (1971) researched the relationship between fluctuations in hemlines and United States stock market averages for 1921 to 1971. She concluded that a positive correlation existed between stock market averages and hemlines. This relation was stronger when Dow Jones "highs" were used as the measure rather than Dow Jones "lows." Yet another orientation to quantitative analysis of fashion change was presented by Behling (1985). She suggested that fashion change is influenced both by economic conditions (percent of personal income consumption and expenditures) and demographic factors (median age of the population). Thus quantitative models of fashion variation might be labelled (a) cyclical models of dress dimensions that are self-generated, (b) economic models of dress measurements, and (c) demographic and economic models of dress measurements."


  2. Possible theory: when conditions are bad, people become more culturally and religiously conservative. One of the first fronts in the culture war is always women's bodies, and the more conservative and religious a community is - the more the women are covered up.

    ::Shrug:: - makes as much sense as any other theory I've seen...